This part of the church year, the end of the Easter Season, means that if you are using the 1 year lectionary, you will hear Jesus teach in John 16 over and over and over again. I used to wonder at that (and even be semi-annoyed by that - I like moving to different parts of Scripture). I now have concluded that this time was wisdom.
Consider - we have just come off of Easter, off of the great high of the Church Year. And then what happens? We return to life in the world. And what do we see around us? Troubles. Problems. But wait -- we just had Easter, joy, happiness... and then there is this?
Right after Easter we tend to get a big old World Sandwich. And the temptation we have is always to ignore the world, or come up with our own plans to fight the world, to win the world for Jesus. Over and against that, hear our Lord in John 16:
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."
Once again, the proclamation is peace. Once again the declaration is, sure, the world is going to be messed up, and you know what, it always is going to be until He comes again.
What part of "you will have tribulation" do you not understand? Oh, sure, your sinful flesh thinks he can worm his way out of it - he thinks he can out plan or out politic the world and make everything great. Your old sinful flesh is wrong. In this world, you will have tribulation.
Your hope is not to be placed in overcoming or avoiding tribulation. Ain't going to happen. Your way of escape is not to go along with the world either - a temptation we commonly see people fall prey to today. No, your hope is Christ Jesus.
He has overcome the world.
Really. He has died, He is risen. This world will pass, and you will inherit the Earth in Him.
Really. Really really. That's His whole point.
You see the world falling apart around you, you feel those temptations to start biting other dogs lest ye be bitten? Relax. Be at peace. Take heart. Over and against that truth, that reality of the messed up world stands this truth. Christ Jesus has overcome the world.